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Video: Alfried Langle: "Save Yourself" - Image
In an attempt to build ideal relationships, sometimes we risk losing our I, "dissolving", becoming a copy of our partners, like Chekhov's Darling. How can I avoid this? How not to lose yourself or harmony in a couple? The key to success is a constructive dialogue, says the Viennese psychotherapist and apologist for existential analysis
Alfried Langle. Interviewed by a practicing psychologist and existential analyst Ksenia Molokanova.
Alfried LANGLE - Doctor of Psychology (Ph. D.), Doctor of Medicine (MD), psychotherapist, physician, clinical psychologist, President of the International Society for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (GLE-International). A student and colleague of Viktor Frankl. The author of the method of existential analysis. Permanent lecturer at the universities of Vienna, Innsbruck, Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Santiago de Chile.
How not to lose your integrity in a relationship?
If a person loses his uniqueness, his own characteristics, this leads to dissolution in another. Such relationships can no longer mature, they become symbiotic. It is necessary to constantly be in contact with yourself, to seriously assess what is happening in the inner world. Asking yourself: “What do I think and how do I feel? Is this right for me? Do I really want to do this? Or am I only doing this out of fear of losing my partner? " It is necessary to speak openly about your desires, plans, needs, share opinions. Only if you have a good relationship with yourself can you build a good relationship as a couple.
This is not an easy task. We often see how people, in an effort to show their interest in relationships, begin to copy the habits of loved ones, adopt their vision of the world, and share hobbies. Sometimes there is even a love addiction. What is the mechanism of this phenomenon?
Depending on the person, needs are controlled, their satisfaction is priority. We may feel the need for protection, warmth, and intimacy, which enhance relationships. But when needs become the dominant pattern, it is a sure sign that loved ones have also become addicted. They need the constant presence of each other. While in a mature relationship a person can live alone for a week or a month, in a dependent relationship he cannot leave his partner even for a day. The addict is often dominated by unfulfilled needs and desires from childhood. He does not feel his importance, his life is narrowed, it seems that he has nothing to breathe. And at this moment it is important to learn how to cope with addiction, to talk about it. Find resources within yourself that will help you not need a partner, but love him and be ready to give him freedom.
How is a mature relationship different from falling in love?
Falling in love has a certain characteristic: everything seems perfect, we do not notice problems, we feel like we are in paradise. And this is unrealistic. When we are in love, we are blind, we do not really see the other. We are aware only of our desires and do not really know our partner. And we fill these white spots in the image of a loved one with our projections. We feel so excited that even the unpleasant traits and characteristics of our partner seem very sweet to us. And after years, these features lead to a crisis.
The counterbalance to love is a mature relationship. Partners see each other clearly, recognize problems and differences. Mature love is realistic, feelings are mutual and lovers strive not only to be near, but also to help overcome difficulties and support each other. This is love that is born from a deep personal meeting, the contact of two people.
Equality and brotherhood
In July 2016, VTsIOM, with the participation of 1,600 respondents over 18 years old in 130 settlements of the Russian Federation, tried to draw an image of the "ideal family" of modern Russians. Our compatriots consider “mutual understanding, support and respect between family members” to be the most important thing in the “cell of society” (87%). It is noteworthy that before the crisis, the percentage of connoisseurs of mutual assistance was less, and the percentage of connoisseurs of material well-being was higher (17% in comparison with the current 9%). At the same time, the type of family in which the spouses' rights, duties and responsibilities are divided equally is becoming more and more attractive (52%Russians prefer this format of relations). It would seem that everything speaks of a high degree of respect for the personal "I" in a married couple, but this is only partly true. The older generation still associates the image of the “ideal family” with the need to sacrifice their private interests (77%), and only 32% of the youngest audience (18-24 years old) see a link between family happiness and a high level of personal freedom.
What are relationship crises talking about?
The crisis shows that something important has appeared, about which there is no consensus among the couple. This is the point at which the two decide whether they are capable of continuing the relationship, or should stop and start an independent life. Crises can arise in connection with any topic. To have children or not, what kind of education to give them, are connections possible on the side. This can happen even if you previously promised each other to be together all your life. After all, we are not given to know if we will meet someone more attractive. We cannot even imagine what difficulties will arise with caring for elderly parents, with new interests of a partner. Crises require discussion, open dialogue. And it takes time. By the way, the crisis is also good - it leads to the purification and deepening of relations. It's not a bad thing to experience tipping points. It's bad not to discuss this.
How to build an open dialogue?
At the beginning of the conversation, you can recall how you met, liked each other and decided to continue the relationship. Answer simple questions: what was captivating and charming about your partner? What attracted, attracted and what did you love about him? Are the feelings still alive? What has changed?
The next step is to share what attracts you to your partner now. Ask yourself - do you have an interest in him, do you want to know him more? If this is not the case, there will be no real dialogue, intimacy. Maybe there will be good sex or a full functional life - with a house, a car, common travel. But the partners won't get closer. However, a functional relationship is also normal. But usually people want more. They want intimacy, exchange.
Unfortunately, in our culture, people are not taught to build a dialogue. It is important that each in a pair is ready to express what he feels and thinks, what inspires him, what rises inside. Talk about how he represents events in everyday and political life, economics. Real life within a couple is when we exchange what really affects us, moves us. If I'm interested in what excites you, gives you joy, or, on the contrary, makes you suffer, if I'm ready to share this with you, if it's important to me how you became who you are, we have a good foundation for dialogue. If there is no such interest, the question arises - why are we together? What kind of relationship do we want to live? Sexy? Functional? Personal? The couple must decide this.
How to show my partner that he is valuable to me, while remaining myself?
It is enough to maintain and respect mutual borders, not to try to dominate. It is necessary to allow a loved one to act as he wants, to respect his desires, feelings, ideas. And it's important to spot differences in dreams and aspirations. You are You, and I am I. It is on such fertile soil that long-term relationships grow. We are not fusion, on the contrary, we are differences. It's okay that you think differently than your significant other. Suggest to your partner: "Let's think together what we have in common and understand how we are different." Differences give the necessary tension, they add salt to the soup of relationships.
Share the secret of a long and harmonious relationship as a couple
Do you want to live together for fifty years or more? Know that the main thing is respect and recognition of the value of each other. And if your partner seems attractive and charming to you, you want to be with him, do something important for his development, and besides, this is mutual, do not hesitate, your relationship has a wonderful foundation.